Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Chocolate Interlude

Do you remember fondue pots? Maybe you’re not old enough to have bit part of that fad, but when I was a kid, everyone had to have one. It was supposed to be the party craze of the century... Just make some fondue and your party would be an instant success. All the important people would show up, even if they didn’t know you.

For those of you who never had this experience, a fondue pot is a little saucepan with curved sides that come in at the top. It comes with a stand, which has a place for a little burner down below to keep the contents warm. There are a number of long skinny forks, something like a miniature version of what you’d use to toast hot dogs over the fire to complete the kit.

You could put hot oil in the pot, and cook cut up pieces of meat and vegetables in the oil; which you would then dip in various sauces before eating. Or, you could make cheese fondue; dipping chunks of bread in melted cheese. The final and most important version of this delicacy is to dip cut up pieces of fruit, pretzels, and marshmallows into melted chocolate.

Ahhh, chocolate; if there was ever a romantic food, that’s it. Maybe you don’t have a fondue pot, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the pleasure of sharing some romantic melted chocolate with your wife. As long as you’ve got a stove, and a little imagination, you can have a great time.

I always start with semi-sweet chocolate chips. When you melt your chocolate, it’s a good idea to add a couple of tablespoons of tablespoons of cooking oil to the chocolate. This will help keep it from drying out too quick. It might be a good idea to use a double boiler too (put your saucepan with the chocolate inside a larger pot with water in it), to help insure that you don’t scald the chocolate that’s on the bottom. I like to add a little flavoring extract, say orange or mint to my chocolate too.

Before melting your chocolate, get your fruit, pretzels, marshmallows and whatever ready. I don’t know what you like with chocolate on it, use your imagination. Put it all on a tray somewhere, where the two of you can enjoy it. Put on a little soft music in the background. When your chocolate is melted, run in that room, lock the door to keep the kids out, and feed your wife a chocolate dipped strawberry, while you look soulfully into her eyes.

Since you don’t have a little burner under your pot to keep the chocolate melted, it might harden after a bit. Never fear, that’s why we added the oil. You can take your pot back to your double boiler on the stove, and re-melt the chocolate.

Enjoy a nice time together as you eat your romantic chocolate fondue.

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